Originally posted on BroncoTalk  |  Last updated 2/29/12

To help them select the Madden NFL 13 cover player, EA Sports is turning to the fans.  EA will select two players to represent each team in a vote-off which will lead to the final thirty-two man bracket.

Once the voting is down to thirty-two players, fans will vote in player face-offs until the Madden NFL 13 cover player is chosen.  Voting begins on March 7th on SportsNation’s Facebook page.

EA’s Madden Facebook page announced on Tuesday that quarterback Tim Tebow and linebacker Von Miller will be the two players representing the Denver Broncos in the voting. Since 2001, the Broncos have never had one of their players grace the cover of the popular video game.

Before the Super Bowl, Tebow won Madden Bowl XVIII and he was the cover of EA’s NCAA 11 two years ago.  With Tebow’s massive following, there is a good chance that he could receive enough votes to become the next Madden cover boy.

Then again, Tebow fans might think twice before voting for him.  In fear of the Madden Curse, many Gator and Bronco fans have encouraged fellow fans to not vote for Tebow or Miller. 

When asked about the curse, the folks at EA usually note that when a player has a career year, it is highly unlikely for him to have back-to-back career seasons, which explains player’s performance drop offs after gracing the cover of Madden.  As for the injuries, those just happen in football.

But is there more to it?  Since 2001, ten players have been on the cover and a majority of them have seen jinx-like occurrences the following season.

  • After Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George was the 2001 cover boy, the Titans lost in the Divisional round of the playoffs and George’s performance declined as he averaged no more than 3.4 yards per career the rest of his career.
  • A year later, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper was named the 2002 cover athlete.  The following season, Culpepper threw 23 interceptions, broke the record of most fumbles in a single season and the Vikings limped to a 5-11 season.
  • The 2003 athlete was St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk.  After Faulk made the cover, his performance declined and multiple knee injuries ultimately ended his career two years later.
  • Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was the 2004 cover player, before he broke his fibula in the pre-season.  The Falcons would go on to have a 5-11 season and Vick ultimately went to jail for participating in an illegal dog-fighting ring.  However, Vick has since bounced back and was named the 2010 Comeback Player of the Year.
  • In 2004, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was the Madden NFL 2005 cover athlete.  Lewis missed the final two games of the season with a wrist injury but the “curse” did not effect him beyond that.
  • The 2006 cover athlete, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, would go on to tare his ACL and missed half of the season.
  • Former Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander was the 2007 Madden cover athlete.  The following season was his final with the Seahawks as he posted career lows in yards, average and scores after suffering a foot injury which caused him to miss six starts.
  • Former Titans quarterback Vince Young made the 2008 cover, and his career went down hill after that due to injuries and poor play.  Currently, Young is a free agent.
  • In 2008, a player who we will not mention made the cover.
  • In 2009, Madden mixed it up and put two players on the cover: Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.  The following season Polamalu played in only five games due to injury.  Fitzgerald however seemingly bucked the curse and posted career highs.
  • In 2010, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees graced the cover and went on to play the entire season.  Brees did throw 22 interceptions though and the Saints lost in the first round of the playoffs to the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks.
  • Last year, Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis was the cover athlete.  During the 2011 season, Hillis missed six games and rushed for only 587 yards after rushing for 1,177 yards in 2010.  The Browns are not expected to re-sign Hillis this off-season.
What’s your take on the curse? Will you vote for or against Tim Tebow and Von Miller?


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